HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
Feedback
Lady is a Square, The
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Dark Rendezvous
Silk Road
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Captive Heart, The Stiff Upper Lips, Chaps
Year: 1946
Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Jack Warner, Basil Radford, Rachel Kempson, Frederick Leister, Mervyn Johns, Rachel Thomas, Gladys Henson, James Harcourt, Gordon Jackson, Elliott Mason, Margot Fitzsimons, David Keir, Derek Bond, Jane Barrett, Jimmy Hanley
Genre: WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Europe, 1940, and the Second World War is in its early stages, with a number of British prisoners marched across France towards Germany for many miles, exhausting them but not dimming their spirit, though at times it may flicker a little when the cobbles on the roads are no assistance to their journey. As the men march, occasionally stumbling, taking what water they can to quench their thirst in this heat, they don’t talk to each other for the ordeal is too gruelling for chat, but they do remember what has brought them to this place and more importantly what they have left back in their homeland. Corporal Horsfall (Jack Warner), for example, recalls his wife and the good times he shared with his best friend Private Evans (Mervyn Johns)…

The theme was that the ordinary life they had basically abandoned to fight in the war was what they were desperately striving to return to, that status quo so harshly disrupted by the conflict, and that was as imperative to protect as it was to stop the Nazis slaughtering millions across the world. This would have been duly noted by the audiences of the day who in 1946 would be essentially sympathising with the wish to go back to what things had been like before, that apparent stability which perhaps now seemed out of reach, rendering the large amount of war movies to come all the more popular since they reminded the public what it had all been for. Ealing Studios were no different to contributing to this than any other British studio.

And The Captive Heart was their, for its day, unusual contribution, as it detailed for the first time what all too many returning Brits suffered through, the Prisoner of War camps, which at least made this stand out from the other war movies that concentrated on the fighting. Here those incessant thoughts of home informed the drama, as there wasn’t five minutes that went by without the inmates thinking of their loved ones in Blighty. Well, apart from one character, who was played by Michael Redgrave; he was an impostor, not because he was a spy in the ranks, but because he was a Captain in the Czech army, Karel Hasek, who had escaped from a concentration camp (forgive the filmmakers this conceit when in truth very few prisoners escaped from those hellholes) and assumed the identity of a British officer.

That officer was already dead and Hasek merely took his uniform and papers, but the ruse hasn’t gone too well seeing as how he’s been recaptured, though the tension arises from wondering if he will be found out and sent back to certain death. When his fellow prisoners discover the truth – his fluent German was a giveaway, and indeed has made the Commandant suspicious – they close ranks around him and see to it he is protected, even to the extent of having him write to the dead man’s widow (Redgrave’s actual wife Rachel Kempson) so as not to arouse too many questions. But here was where the film tended to falter, in that by concentrating so much on the events back in Britain, it cleaved rather close to melodrama, only of the most mundane variety, which meant you felt the crushing boredom of the camp all too clearly, not the most exciting of plotlines.

Not helping was that most of the actors slotted into various “types”, obviously to create some universal experience but coming across as cliché-ridden for too many scenes, and the way this had been parodied down the years didn’t bolster what at the time would have been intended to be emotional and inspiring. All those caveats aside, that cast was professional enough to breathe life into their roles, with Warner, the future Dixon of Dock Green, a standout as the no-nonsense prisoner instrumental in keeping up morale and proving just because they were incarcerated did not mean they were going to roll over and comply with everything the Nazis wanted. The scene where the inmates drown out the patriotic German tunes over the tannoy with a stirring rendition of Roll Out the Barrel may have been “adapted” from Casablanca, but it was effective in this context too. Basil Radford was the embodiment of the sterling British officer, Gordon Jackson laboured under blindness, and so on, but there was little here you wouldn’t expect. Music by Alan Rawsthorne.

[Studio Canal's Blu-ray looks sharp, sounds clear and has an introduction by an expert for its sole extra feature.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1789 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Basil Dearden  (1911 - 1971)

Dependable British director who began his film career working on Will Hay comedies like My Learned Friend, then moved onto a range of drama and comedy: a segment of classic horror Dead of Night, important crime film The Blue Lamp, The Smallest Show on Earth, excellent heist story The League of Gentlemen, social issues film Victim, action spectaculars Khartoum and The Assassination Bureau and quirky horror The Man Who Haunted Himself. Sadly, Dearden died in a car crash.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: